Chapter 1


The creation of genuinely new software has far more in common with developing a new theory of physics than it does with producing cars or watches on an assembly line.

—T. Bollinger

Software that drives the operations of sensors and communication among sensors is basic to any meaningful application of sensor networks. The goal of this book is to provide an understanding of how this software functions; how it allows the sensors to gather information, process it, and interact with each other in networks; and how these networks interact with the physical world. One aim of this book is to provide fundamental information necessary to write efficient sensor network software. A second aim is to provide a balance between theory and applications, so that the subject matter is complete (self-contained).

Wireless sensor network (WSN) applications may consist of diverse sensors with varying capabilities. For example, sensors may range from an extremely constrained 8-bit “mote” to less resource-constrained 32-bit “microservers.” These sensors may be organized in different network configurations, which use different communication and data dissemination protocols, most software development platforms consist of libraries that implement message-passing interprocess communication (IPC) primitives, tools to support simulation, emulation, and visualization of networked systems, and services that support networking, sensing, and time synchronization. Given all of this diversity, ...

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